Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Furious Clan Gets Buried Alive... AKA... Who Else Would This Kind Of Thing Have Happened To?

I just nearly killed my children and myself.

Me, from a heart attack, after pulling a sled & child through ice crusted, foot deep snow, uphill and downhill, completely lost I might add, for 45 minutes at break neck pace (being terrified will do that).

The kids from having to fend for themselves, after my sudden death, completely lost in the wilderness too far from any houses for anyone to hear them.

Oh and it's about 10 degrees out.

I tried not to yell "MOM!!!" too shrilly so as not to alarm the kids but I think the fact my pupils were fully dialated might have tipped them off.

Let me tell you it doesn't take long for the panic to set in when you are lost in below freezing temperatures. Especially when one of your crew is a not especially hearty two year old.

So much for the simple sledding expedition.

Did I mention that my mom lives on something like 40 wooded acres and that the trail system totally snowed over... and about 100 feet in it became clear that everything looked exactly the same in every direction?!

Or that the large dog tracks looked suspiciously like wolf tracks?

Or that in an effort to return to the house as quickly as possible I decided, after a fair amount of time, to attempt to follow the trail the full loop back to the house(since trying to veer off in hopes of finding a shortcut could have been an fatal decision under the present circumstances... and I do NOT jest)? Imagine, if you can, how difficult that decision was knowing that commiting to that trek would be close to impossible for Kid to pull off...and yet I would not be strong enough to pull both kids back myself? But at that point what choice did I have? Both directions might be too far for her (or me I was beginning to fear) and no one could hear us and no one knew where we were.

That is until I saw a house, off in the distance, that was not my mother's house, which meant we were significantly off course.

People, I was terrified. Every potential scenario running through my mind. Leaving them in the frigid temps while I ran back?... no they'd wander off and die. Resting before reversing?... we might get too cold and disoriented. You can see where this starts going in a fear clouded mind.

With only one option left, and terror slowly taking over, I reversed our course and we followed the only reliable path we had... our own.

Once I finally found the trail back to the house, pine needles stabbing my back and neck after bushwhacking to a clearing pulling Baby, kids crying, poor Kid limping slowly behind exhausted and frustrated, I collapsed on the ground.

I was sweating and shaking from the physical output... and near tears. The kids were both past that stage and well into cold, tear streaked, and pissed.

When we made the final trek to the house we stumbled in a haggard, disgruntled, slushy bunch.

"How long until you came searching for us?" I asked.

"What? We're you guys lost?" My stepfather replied.

Yeah that's what I thought. See why I was so worried?!

Who knows how long we might have been out there.

And how long does it take before you resort to cannibalism (it was lunch time)?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Upside?... It Was Only Two Hours... And Nobody Yelled At Me... Or Escorted Us Off The Plane

let's start at the beginning...

The flight was horrible.

Starting a couple of weeks before our trip Kid decided to inform Baby (unbeknownst to me) that sometimes planes fall from the sky and crash. So... hmm... NOT HELPFUL.

The night before our trip Baby announced that she would not be flying in a plane but that she would walk to her grandmother's house. That was kind of cute... but then... when we got to the airport and I struggled to get her snowsuit off for security, I realized she was serious. VERY SERIOUS. That's when she started screaming.

So you can imagine how fun that was for me.

Getting everyone's coats and shoes off and through security, along with Kaya, an animatronic baby (the TSA workers loved that I might add), a stroller, and a tantrumming toddler... oh and a large anxious 7 year old who is clinging to me, pulling on my shirt, and refusing to JUST WALK THROUGH THE METAL DETECTOR ALREADY!!!

Of course I did this all with a calm demeanor and a smile on my face (would you expect anything less?). You really don't want to act weird in anyway when trying to send an animatronic baby through the xray scanner.

Oh, did I fail to mention the terrorist attempt the day before at the Detroit airport? Or that we were flying to Detroit? Or that I didn't know anything about it until my grandmother called to tell me half an hour before we left for the airport? Sending my usual flying-with-the-kids-alone anxiety through the roof, and making me wish I had some kind of medication? Or that upon arriving at the airport that there were TVs with constant coverage running and that my 7 year old is old enough to understand what they are talking about... and that my 2 year old is already terrified of flying?

Yes, it was a perfect storm of horror.

I got Baby calmed down until we had to board the plane.

But remember that it is a small airport, and a small jet, and we have to go outside to get on. Which, if you haven't done it in awhile, is really loud. And if you are 2 years old, and terrified of planes,... just a wee bit disconcerting. That's when she started screaming and actively fighting me.

Those were good times. Even candy didn't work.

Remember that our seats aren't together?

And, as it turns out, because she's over 2, the flight attendants insisted that she couldn't sit in my lap during take-off.

By this point she was just whimpering "I nervous" and her fingernails we're digging into my flesh from across the aisle(my children are nothing if not articulate when it comes to their feelings... I wonder where they get that..)

I mean how do you explain to a two year old that this big plane is going to fly in the air and it is perfectly safe... when... most adults can't even come to terms with that?!

Once we were in the air for awhile she calmed down a bit. But anytime the plane hit turbulance, or dipped a wing she's start screaming "WE'RE FALLING!!!"

And don't we all feel like that? The only funny part is that I'm sure she was starting to freak out the other passengers... like... "my God what if that Baby is right?!... what if she's having premonitions?!"

It didn't help that once we were decending I told her "We're going down." Oops. I meant it in the *good* way.

When we finally landed she clapped and cheered "We're on the ground!". I think the entire plane was happy for her at that point.

Or themselves... but who's counting?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

I'm Leaving On A Jet Plane

The girls and I are headed up to the great north woods.

I'd take you all with me, you know I would, but my hands will be very full trying to juggle the girls and their dolls (yes Kaya has slowly seeped into Kid's heart), all while helping them up the dangerously steep airplane steps in the slush and ice (don't you just love small airports?).

I also look forward to having to deal with the snow boots, and coats, stroller and carseat.... in and out of security... all by myself. I love, love, love how helpful they always are to us traveling moms with multiple kids underfoot. Always so helpful. If we're lucky we'll get searched (it's happened).

Oh and small airport = small plane = not all sitting together = extreme fun when one child is a maniac and one has social anxiety.

It will all be worth it.... right?!

I'll update from my mom's when I get a chance.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas To You Too... AKA... Oh No She Didn't

Upon seeing her stocking Kid jumped for joy and squealed a bit..

Then she saw her sister's loot...

"Santa made a mistake." Kid says in complete seriousness.

Let's see...
Kid got an American Girl doll complete with habitat.
Baby got a $15 animatronic baby doll and a box of sugar cereal.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Oh and...

Mr F had a phone call today.

We should know a final answer by mid-January.

It's only been 5 freaking months.

Watch Out... I'm Having Deep Thoughts Again

I'm still working my way through that happiness book. I actually think the fact that I can only manage to find time enough to squeeze out a few pages a day has been a positive. It's allowed me to really sink into it and savor it's messages bit by thought provoking bit.

I have had lots of "Ah ha" moments and "Amen to that"s.

But mostly it has helped to THINK about what the hell I'm doing to myself.

Last week the mother of a baby (THE baby I was supposed to watch initially) informed me that she's dropping him off the Tuesday we get back from vacation.

Informed me.

Just flat out assumed that I am, now, watching her baby full time.

And because I'm me, and mortally flawed, I didn't say anything.

I didn't say "I'm full", "Let me think about it", "How much are you going to pay me?"

No. I said "alright".

And then I went home and contemplated the panic attack I wanted to have. Three infants?! I cannot do it. I don't want to do it. I DON'T NEED TO DO IT.

What the fuck is my fucking problem?!

Why am I so concerned about disappointing/inconveniencing other people? Why am I so willing to throw myself under the bus?!

This is what I said to Mr F "I guess I can do anything if I just take it one day at a time."

Yes, I guess I can. But the point is I DON'T NEED TO DO IT. It is going to make me stressed and tired and incapable of spending any quality time with Baby. For a few more dollars a day.

I'd rather go back to skimping on groceries and making my own bread.

I'd rather go back to one gallon of milk a week.

Why can't I ever protect my own interests?

Why do I find the fear that I may disappoint someone (strong emphasis on may) so overwhelming that I will hurt myself rather than risk it?

Because let me make it clear... I do not have the energy or time resources to care for 3 infants and a couple of toddlers by myself. I just don't. I could do it... I could live through the eight hours. But I will suffer for it.

And my family will suffer.

I'm not living my best life.

I'm not living the best life I can live under the present circumstances even. I'm actively (or inactively) choosing to live my worst life under the present circumstances.

What is up with that?

I keep telling myself that it will be over soon. I'll set a limit and stop watching these kids in June. But, really, will I? If I can't say no to a single one of their request now... will I actually set a limit in June? And what of these next six months? Am I willing to just "live through" it? For what purpose? I'm staying home with my girls because I believe that is important... and, now, I'm home but not able to meet their needs. For what? A hundred or so dollars a week? It doesn't even make a financial impact... and certainly not one worth the time and energy drain.

I do this stuff, to different levels, to myself all the time.

I have very simple goals for my life. Very simple, readily attainable, things bring me happiness.

Spending time with my girls. Having time and energy for creative pursuits. For reading.

I can have all those things. I can't live a life without hardships, but I can live a life that is filled with nuggets of joy DAILY.

And I don't.

Not because I can't.

But because it is easier for me to say "Yes" than it is to say "No".

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It's A Video-palooza Day

Now I'm off to help the girls roll beeswax candles...

And really, people, a craft could not be easier than this. You can buy all the stuff you need at AC Moore (not at Michael's). Get some plain beeswax sheets and wick and roll those babies up (ours are not from AC but from an online source so it was cheaper... but you're out of time for that now!). Each sheet will make two candles. Two pillars or two tapers depending on how you cut it. Buy some colored wax and use small cookie cutters to cut shapes out. The kids can roll the candles and stick the cut outs on. Very easy. Baby even did it.

Proof That She Doesn't Always Wear PJs

Monday, December 21, 2009


I just went to the post office and feel like I practically risked my life to do it.

The house is TRASHED after 4 days of being mostly shut in, toys and snow pants fighting for dominance on the living room rug, fire making mess by the kind-of-doesn't-really-work wood stove, wrapping mess around the tree, baking mess in the kitchen, packing peanuts forming a cushy path between the two...

The last several days have been focused on survival basics like heat and food and not so much on getting ahead on my Christmas list of to dos. I was able to get some of my gift box baking done yesterday but still had some to finish up, as well as packaging, and boxing up today. When I woke up this morning I knew I had to put a serious move on if I was going to get it all done and in the mail with even a remote chance of making it in time for Christmas.

And I did. I got 6 boxes packed and boxed appropriately and juggled into and out of the post office (with rowdy stragglers entail).

First let me refer you to last year's POST. Sadly, due to my time constraints, and sheer exhaustion, I wasn't able to turn out the same level of Christmas box.

This year I used packing peanuts instead of freshly popped popcorn (GASP!).

No music.

No cloved oranges.

In short, this year I was a helluva lot more approachable. So if you wake up everyday wondering how you can live up to my level of awesomeness.. well... this year is for you.

This year I made my Iced Sugar Cookies...

note my all white theme. Lazy or brilliant... you decide (I vote lazy & brilliant). I'm pretending it's an ode to our recent snow storm. The truth is white icing vs multiple shades of icing... is ten times less work.

I made my Gingersnaps...

And instead of Caramel Corn & Dipped Candy Cane Oreos, I made what my mother calls Cake Balls.

Now I can't say "cake balls" without feeling a little "Miss Jackson" if you catch my drift.

So I have renamed them..
"Triple Chocolate Cake Bites"

Here is how you make them (since I know someone will ask): One box cake mix (any flavor) baked as directed in a 9x13 pan. While hot break up into crumbs with two forks. Add a container of prepared icing (any flavor) and mix thoroughly. Chill. Using a spoon and your hands roll Tablespoonfuls of your mixture into balls. Place on cookie sheet and chill. Melt chocolate (any flavor) and dip balls into chocolate to coat. Place back on cookie sheet (sprinkle with toppings while still wet!) and let chocolate set before packaging.
I packaged them a couple of ways. I set each one in a mini muffin liner and placed them in the bottom of egg cartons, or for my brother's brood in this covered peanut tin. While I'm loving the look... I'm not sure anything can top the egg carton for shipping purposes... and seriously... how cute is the half and egg carton?! I got that idea somewhere on the internets but can't remember where. So thanks random crafty person!

FYI that is my wrapping paper for this year (love it) and I got it at (where else?) Target.

Now, I am going to warn you that I found the cake bites to be pretty labor intensive. The dipped cookies were MUCH faster to make. But one pan of cake makes about 80 cake bites so maybe it's worth it. They are very rich and truffle like. I used devil's food cake and dark fudge icing. I coated them in white chocolate, milk chocolate,and dark chocolate. I sprinkled some with sprinkles, some with crushed candy cane, and left some plain. They definitely taste better "the next day" once they have set more. So these are potentially great for gift giving.

The rest of the recipes can be found HERE.

That's all folks!

I'm off to try and take a breath and force the kids to watch Hallmark Channel Christmas movies.

Praise The Lord

My internet is back!!!

Now if only our furnace would stay lit....

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Super Short Update

We woke up to a cold house again this morning. We hadn't lost power again, that we know of, but sometime in the night our furnace shut off. Thankfully we still have electricity and could plug in our portable heaters. We still don't have our cable phone or internet service back (I just purchased 1 hour off a wireless site... that I only have an intermittent connection with... so I could check our email and access my Christmas cookie recipes). Thank God we have DirecTV ;)

Mr F ran to the store to get tuna, bread, & sugar (can't wait for that phone call... yes our cells still work). I hesitate to buy much more than our day's necessities in case we end up having to pack up and stay elsewhere. Hopefully the neighborhood burger joint is open and we can walk up there for dinner.

If our power stays on I'm planning to have a big baking day and, if I can get my car out tomorrow, ship off my Christmas boxes on Monday. I'm kind of getting down to the wire on those...

That's all folks. Not exactly the weekend I had been hoping for, but it has been an adventure.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Be Careful What You Wish For

15 inches of snow

15 hours without power

or heat

fridge and freezer emptied into snow

no plows

Mr F finally getting a fire started

with begged for wood

14 hours too late


you guessed it

the power came back

Friday, December 18, 2009

Eight Hours Later

Baby made it about 8 feet off the porch before she just gave up in a heap. See her head sticking out just past that bush?

Don't worry Kid came back for her and packed down a 200 foot track for her to follow back to their "fort".

Update to add:

Have you ever run through a foot of snow in your socks? Because you suddenly heard the shrieks of death coming out of your two year old?
Lost my slippers in the first 5 feet from the back steps.
Kid can only find one.
I now have hypothermia.
Oh and there was nothing wrong with her.
And, yes, "crying wolf" has now been officially defined for them.

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

Kid woke up, on her first morning of Christmas vacation, to this....

I woke up to her screaming in my ear "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! It's snowing!"

This is the first real snow we've had since living here.

It doesn't look like much now, but it is just starting, and is due to snow for two straight days!

These Michiganders are thrilled!

Today is going to be fun.

Oh and if you are worried about Baby, don't...
it seems there are provisions being stock piled in the hood.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Randomness Of The Day

Is anyone else watching (and LOVING) Sing Off? I cannot get enough of that show! It's fantastic.

P.S. Don't tell me what happened last night... I tivo'd it and we're watching it with Kid tonight!

Last night I realized in a fit of panic that today was Kid's last day of school and we hadn't put together any teacher gifts. Of course I didn't really think about it until 9:30 PM. Unfortunately I suffer from a mental disease and it really matters to me what people think of me... especially when I don't like them! ;) While we did contribute to the pooled cash gift (as asked to do) I also want Kid to give them homemade gifts. She doesn't understand about the money and it isn't giving her the opportunity to express her feelings herself. (either is my making cookies... but... hey... it's a start). So last night I made my Gingersnaps (which are fantastic). I packaged them up like I did last year. I also put one of Kid's beeswax candles in the gift bags and that felt PERFECT. It's something she made, and is proud of, and it is something that is both useful and meaningful to the teachers.

Then, later, because I'm a psychotic perfectionist, I was really stressing about not having a small gift for Kid to be able to give her classmates. I don't know why, it isn't like she gave them one last year. It's more a compensation for my feeling so behind in all of our Christmasiness thus far. So I enlisted Mr F to help me put together bags of "Reindeer Food" and stick them anonymously in the kids' cubbies. Another parent did this last year and Kid loved it. That family is gone and I though we'd keep the spirit alive.

Then I finished the big snowflakes for Kid's school holiday performance.

It was a long night!

Yesterday, as I collected our mail, I was also overcome with guilt about not having gotten any Christmas cards together.
While covertly shopping for stocking stuffers with Baby at Cost Plus World Market I picked up some nice discounted cards. Then today I ordered some wallet sized pictures of each of the girls... and if we work together... we might actually get those out BEFORE Christmas.

Today is my last day of babysitting until January. What a relief! While the money would be helpful, I'm just so excited to be able to enjoy the next couple of weeks with the girls and finally be able to do some holiday baking and crafting. I'm really looking forward to having our evenings together to relax and watch Christmas movies

That's it. Gotta go feed babies.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

On The Plus Side Now I Know What To Get Her For Christmas

Yesterday, after our little charge went home, I decided to load Baby into the stroller and walk to the grocery store for some baking necessities.

As soon as I pushed us in, and out of the wind, I realized that I had a rather large list and this wasn't a good trip to have brought the stroller.

I grabbed a hand basket and hooked it awkwardly on the stroller handle and then looked up, ready to proceed on, when I realized this stroller configuration actually made us too wide to pass by the checkers easily.

I had only one convenient option: go through the beer and wine section.

I don't know why but I felt trepidatious about doing that. I wasn't even going to be buying any alcohol but I felt it was weird and *wrong* to bring a stroller in there. Nothing would scream "raging alcoholic" out to all passersby like a mom pushing a stroller STRAIGHT TO THE BEER section at 1 PM.

Well... one thing might.

As soon as we get into the beer section, in full view of everyone lined up to check out,

Baby points emphatically and yells out at top volume...


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Pursuit Of Happiness

These days I've been thinking a lot about the course of one's life. How much you lead it and how much you follow it.

It occurs to me that it takes a lot of confidence, and strength (and gall perhaps?) to chose the direction of your life. To make decisions based on your own interests and deal with the consequences accordingly.

It's much harder to turn away from life's collective forces and opportunities (or good enough scenarios) that present themselves than you presumed when you were daydreaming in your high school physics class. Back when you had the confidence (and gall perhaps) to believe you had it in you to control everything that came your way. That you would take the road less traveled... of course you would.

Who knew, then, how tired you'd get? And scared at times. How ingrained it is in our culture (it is) to not risk too much... to be happy with a mostly good life.

Anyone can grow up to be President... but... not you. You're going to work 9-5 at a job you find passable (or don't).

How many times have you heard: "Things could always be worse."

Is that really reason enough not to try?

Is the fear that things could be worse a legitimate reason not to try (or want, or validate the wanting) to live a life that is BETTER (not perfect... but better)?

I battle this internal dialogue all the time. Why can't I just be happy with this? This is enough, isn't it? I'm supposed to think this is enough... aren't I? WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?!

I was talking with another mother the other day. We were talking about all of this. She said "I have nothing but respect for people who decide to choose the direction of their own lives." We talked about positive energy and the law of attraction (yes this is what it is like when you have a playdate with me... drink coffee first... or alcohol..). And I do believe that is true. Whether or not better things come your way or not... I do think that when you are positive and actively choosing (as opposed to responding) you'll experience those things in a positive light. And that is life changing even if, in the end, your life isn't dramatically different.

In the end I think it is more fulfilling to live a life that is hard and challenging but of your own choosing, than to live a life that is mediocre. It's got to be.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Back In Limbo

This is the SHIRT. I don't know why it is listed as petite... mine isn't. This is Target at its finest. Trust me.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Weekend Update

We're busy as bees around here this weekend. I just finished making chocolate swirl waffles (Kid's first Eeyore comment of the day: "they're okay"... yet there are none left so you do the math) and listening to last week's This American Life. I'm still working on my happiness book... and loving it. I highly recommend it.

We've been decorating (or finishing decorating) and per my instructions... also... putting all the Christmas bins back in the basement ASAP. I think if left to his own devises Mr F would happily (or obliviously) live his life stepping around bins & bags forever. It's definitely, at times, a source of marital conflict. I kind of feel that the large cumbersome hastily emptied bins take away from the WHOLE POINT of decorating the house. But I guess that's just me...

Last night Mr F and I watched Gangs Of New York. The upside of having had small children for the last 8 years is that there are always movies we haven't seen. We only made it halfway (who knew if was like 4 hours long... I can't even imagine sitting in a theater that long)... hopefully we'll finish it sometime this year. It was Close to 1 AM when we called it quits, which was probably a good thing, since it meant we were too tired to get engaged in acting it out (as is our norm for any movie with a combat scene)... and considering the horrific violence of this movie (and my lingering rage over the Christmas bin situation) it proved to be a fortunate turn of events for Mr F.

Yesterday Kid and I had a fascinating playdate/tea date at one of her classmate's. The friend from the shared party actually. FASCINATING. I don't know how else to describe it. But I will say their entire house would fit in our screened in porch (for real) and they had almost no furniture. It's not how I want to live but it is interesting. I'd like to have a nanny cam set up over there to see how it works out on a daily basis. Oh and no rugs either. Like not a single throw rug... I actually don't remember window treatments... As I said to Mr F "it's more bare bones than a rental cabin". Thankfully the mom finally recognized my comic genius (how did it take so long?!) and our time together was much less awkward and much more enjoyable than it had been in the past.

I'm a bit worried that I don't/won't have the time to put together Christmas boxes this year. I'm just a little stretched beyond my means and don't want another "to do" on my impossibly long list of to dos. We'll see. I really enjoyed doing them last year and found it to be really fulfilling... maybe the week of Christmas if I don't have to babysit too much. Also Kid made some beeswax candles at school (I know... so hippie school) and PEOPLE I was floored when I saw them. Hers looked like an adult had made them. She decorated them with a perfectly placed modern style that I couldn't believe a child had crafted. And I'm not saying that in a "she's my kid" sort of mom way... I mean... legitimately. I thought hers were the adult made example. Hopefully I'll get some pics of them soon. Now I just have to buy them off the school for $4 a piece (tell me about it) and wrap them up and that might take the place of my boxes this year.

I also started making THESE yesterday. Behold...

Gorgeous. I wish I could box these up. After making one the size of a small planet I opted to cut each sheet in a half and ended up with 5" squares making a more practical 10" snowflake. They are surprisingly easy and really impressive looking. I'm planning to crank out a few hundred (I jest) and get Mr F to hang them from the ceiling of our big playroom. I think the kids will love it.

I have to say I've changed up our holiday decorating this year and come up with some treatments that I'm really proud of. I wish we had had the time to do it sooner, we all love the way our house looks decorated. Why can't you have a 9 foot fir tree in your living room at all times? Pictures to come.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
I'm going to try not to do the 1000 things I probably should do, and am going to continue to let Baby direct our photo shoot until her little heart is content...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Celebrating The Season With Baby

She's right you know. A *natural* Santa impersonator lives over there.... which provides a hilarious wrinkle in Kid's ever questioning mind these days. Even in July he sports his long white hair & beard. He is always wearing a red henley long underwear shirt and he drives a red pick up truck with a SANTA license plate and a "Got Toys?" bumper sticker.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Bitch Fest Friday

Someone left a pile of crayons on our burning hot radiator. Awesome. I don't have quite enough to juggle in the morning.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

If You Could Do It All Over Again...

What would you be?

While I think being a therapist is a very good professional fit for me, if I knew what I know now, I would have become a nurse. I think for a helping profession style person (which clearly I am) nothing offers you the same schedule flexibility, job opportunities, and pay scale that nursing does. I wish I had known about that when I was in undergrad when I could have easily gotten my RN and gone on to get my MSW afterwards. I'd have so many more options now. My cousin is a nurse and I have always been envious that she has been able to stay home during the week with her kids and still make enough working weekend shifts to support her family.

Ah well... better luck next time.

So if everything in your life was the same.... same spouse, children, location... would you choose another line of work?

Mr F told me the other day he wishes he'd become an architect.

I think it's interesting that we both wish we had done something within the same kind of genre as the career we did choose. Mr F, I think, for creative purposes, and myself for practical ones.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wednesdays Are My Saturday

I don't have any kids to watch today... well... except my own.

I've got bins of Christmas decorations piled all over the floor.

I've got a book I'm reading and would like to stay curled in my chair, mocking my neighbor's tacky Christmas decorations, and read.

I've also got to go to the bank, the grocery store, put away laundry, and, tonight, clean the entire house... but whose keeping track? Maybe Wednesdays aren't so much like Saturdays after all.

But I'm going to sit and read for an hour first (that is the plan anyway)

Baby's been sick all week (really sick... I'll tell you about that... and Mr F's sobbing breakdown... for reals... later) and while she is seeming better... what's another hour of TV at this point?

Oh I made entire batch of White Trash after the mean lady picked up her baby. Mr F and I ate it all in less than 24 hours. Don't make it. It has got to be the world's most addictive food.

Last night I said to Mr F...

"Well, now that my stomach is so full I'm upchucking in my own mouth, it's time to go watch The Biggest Loser."

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Wow. It Turns Out That Baby Is A Perv

"Bla...blllaaaa.bllllaaa" Said new baby girl.

"How do you know about that?" responds Kid.

"ga... gahhh." gurlged new baby girl.

"Oh. Alright." replied Kid.

"Huh, I guess she knows about it." Kid continues.

"What?" Mrs F asks when she walks in the room.

"Oh. She knows about my Dad's penis." Kid replies.

I walked right into that one.

Monday, December 7, 2009

There Was 'Tude This Morning

Yes there was.

I wanted to write an email saying something like ...

"I'm worth $7 an hour. If you can't respect my time and effort you are more than welcome to find cheaper care elsewhere."

... but my mom talked me down.

You know, I just don't want to start my day with someone giving off a strong bitch vibe. It's just not worth the added stress it causes. And it kind of (okay definitely) pisses me off. I mean give me a break... I'm not even making minimum wage!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Perfect Delivery

"Are you farting" Mr F asked Kid.

"No." Kid replied incredulously.

"It's okay if you are I just want to be sure she isn't going to poop in her pants." Mr F explained holding a diaper-less Baby in his lap.

Kid looked him in the eye and replied...

"The one who smelt it is the one who dealt it."

Friday, December 4, 2009

Believe It

She didn't show up to pay me.

At 3:30 I sent this email...

Dear &%*$&,

In order for me to keep your daughter’s spot, you need to pay me in full Monday morning and thereafter pay me the full rate. From now on I will expect to be paid in full at the end of each day. I am committed to providing excellent care, with a low ratio of children, at a very reasonable rate. Because of that I currently have a waiting list of children who are looking for a spot in my home. It is impossible for me to hold a low rate spot for someone who hasn't committed to paying me promptly.

Mrs F

She called me one minute later and said she'd rush to the bank. Over and hour later she came with the money and said "I wish you had just called me earlier, I had it all along." What the fuck? It is my responsibility to call you and remind you that you said you'd pay me today? That's after you said you'd pay me yesterday and forgot. I do not think so. I just stood there with a quizzical look on my face. Then she said "So are we at $7 and hour now?" And I said "Yep." And she said "Just for one mistake? I'm not usually like this, this week has just been crazy." And I said "I have a waiting list of people who can pay me the full rate. I don't know you and within the first week of watching your child you failed to pay me twice." She had a pissed look on her face. Oh did I fail to mention that she is about 6 feet tall and I'm the size of a twelve year old (a short one at that)? I hate that dynamic when trying to stand up for myself. I should have pulled a chair over and stood on it first. So that's that. She left and I'm now getting my full rate and due to an awesome stroke of luck she messed up and I was able to raise the rate legitimately based on her own negligence. And I'm pretty sure she won't be sticking around for long... anyone who fails to pay twice and then blames me is probably going to fuck up again real soon. I'll take her money for now but I won't be too sorry to see her go.

Bitch Fest Friday

Have at it my friends.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Small Triumphs

It's only 9:30 and I feel like I've put in a full day's work already. Putting two babies down (multiples parents know this well) is kinda tricky. But I did it. Hopefully things will get easier as this new baby gets used to being here. I found out this morning that both babies are ALWAYS going to be here on the same days (previously I thought they'd only overlap one day a week). That's going to be a little rough for me. They are 5 months apart but both crawling/scooting/cruising. So they are both into EVERYTHING. I can't turn around without finding one of them in the recycling, bathroom, craft cabinet, etc. It's time to wash off the Supergate and bring it in and corral these babies!

On other fronts I wanted to say... hang in there readers...I know things are boring around here in their honest report of my daily life... what can I do?... it's literally all I've got. Soon I'm going to start getting this year's Christmas boxes ready... so maybe you can look forward to that. I've been thinking about what to include and will be sharing those thoughts as I finalize them. I'll also try and get a giveaway going for a box or two... but... no promises... things are a little hectic around here right now.

Oh I also wanted to say, to those of you who need encouragement... I'm still working out. I'm also still making 21 meals a week but that's another issue entirely. I think if I can do it and find the time to workout every day then anyone can. I know what it's like to think you don't have enough time or energy left... or if you can find an hour (or half) it's not how you want to spend it... or that you deserve a rest. I know. Believe me. But I also know that it's possible to push through it. And if you don't and you give in... you'll feel just as tired (if not more) AND badly about yourself to boot. My current goal is 45-65 minutes a day (2/3 cardio, 1/3 strength) EVERY SINGLE DAY. I'm not beating myself up when I can't get down there but I average 5-6 days a week. I actually find I workout more when I don't put a limit like "5 days" on myself. For some reason just saying "I'm going to try to do this daily" I find less stressful than a specific amount. I don't sabotage at all anymore, I just accept that sometimes life gets in the way, and I don't feel like I failed to meet an arbitrary goal and then let that disappointment spiral like I used to. (It's entirely possible I'm just too tired to sabotage too). I'm not trying to change my body right now and this amount allows me to maintain without worrying about my food intake... which is my preferred scenario (especially over the holidays).

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Taking The Day

Things seem to be sorting themselves out. I now have 4 kids that I am officially watching. 2 infants and 2 two year olds. Somedays (like Friday) I'll be working from 8 AM until 9 PM (I'm trying not to think about that too much). The good news is that it appears that I'll actually end up having Wednesdays free (mostly)... which is a huge mental health saver. Not just the break itself... but the knowing that I'll have a break. It's making me feel like I can make it through. I can handle anything for 2 days in a row (6 kids?!! hopefully I really can handle it!).

So, today, I really focused on Baby and took her to the library story time, and had a living room tea party, and read books, and played doctor, and snuggled. It made me feel better.

I really need to make sure I'm meeting my own personal goals... of being present for my kids, working out, and enjoying the small moments of my life... if the sitting gets in the way of those goals then I don't think it is worth the financial gain. You know? It only negates the financial stress if it doesn't cause even more stress in more life areas. So I'm going to take this one day at a time and reevaluate in January.

On other fronts I've become increasingly aware that Kid has some new issues (or progressed issues) and that we need to start getting her some help. This is another reason I wish we were not here but in a place with better pediatric specialists... and that we had better insurance. It's not something I'm totally ready to talk about but it's stressful and disappointing (not the exact right word but close) and I'm sad. Maybe that's the right word. I'm sad that she has not been able to have a *normal* life and that she might not ever have a *normal* life. And I'm sorry that she just got a bad deal when it came to genetics and brain development. I'm trying to focus on the fact that she is doing well and is happy. But I also know that it's my responsibility to get her the treatment she needs and that ignoring her symptoms doesn't make them go away.

So that's all. I'm not sure what's going to happen with the blog. We'll see.

Tomorrow I've got two babies coming... that should be interesting.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Not So Patiently Waiting

I got this advent calendar at Starbucks 2 years ago for about $9 (It was marked down from $16 even though it wasn't after the 1st... weird). This year I spent $9 bucks on 3 bags of Christmas candy and was able to fill them all up and still have ample provisions stashed away for an emergency... like the one I'm having right now... that only 5 9 candy cane kisses can fix.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

As Promised...

I used the random number generator site... and out of 8 (that's it??!!! what the heck people?... we're talking about FREE iTunes here!) the winner is...

Number 1

Smoochiefrog send me your snail mail and I'll get it out to you!

P.S. We're back.

Last Chance

If you want a $10 iTunes card you better start spilling...

The drawing will be at 8.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

We're taking a short furlough from Disney to enjoy an over the top Thanksgiving spread at Mr F's best friend's pad in St Petersburg. Yummy. And there is actual vegetation... which is a much needed Disney area change up!

YES I will do a thorough Disney review next week (I know I've been promising this for years... this time I'm going to come through). And I'm glad I waited since I can now give a good onsite/offsite comparison. This is our 6th visit in as many years(shout out to my mom for sponsoring most of those) and we've stayed at a range of Disney hotels and have both done and done without the meal plan. I'm going to write up my review and include our planning tools & sites (and if you are going soon I'll be able to give you the code for booking our hotel ($105/night plus a $25 food credit... hello... room service breakfast!... free parking... no resort fees... and a totally badass kids splash zone pool and an INCREDIBLE gym). I've kept good money records on all our trips and I'll break down for you EXACTLY how much we spent. I'll also do an open Q&A and that way other Disney folks can weigh in on their tricks.

For now we're planning to kick it up a notch late night Magic Kingdom and enjoy our last couple days in Disney World. We're taking off on Saturday and heading up to Savannah for a night before heading home (Mr F is dying to take pictures... and the girls are looking forward to a carriage ride... lets hope I can Priceline something decent).

If anything horrific/laughable goes down this weekend make sure you add it into the giveaway (post below) and I'll be announcing the winner on Sunday night.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Updates... Of All Kinds

#1 Loving our hotel. Loving it. We will never stay onsite again.

#2 How can relaxation be so freaking exhausting?. We're exhausted (well Mr F & I are).

#3 Baby, while not totally into Disney (hates the rides), loves riding the parking lot trams... so she is guaranteed at least two moments of bliss every day.

#4 We do not have free wireless... so getting online has been a low priority.

#5 Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Still Running The "Your Life Sucked Here's Ten Bucks" Giveaway

For the third time here are the rules...

Now for the giveaway. Today I'm doing it a little differently. Today I'm asking that you go back in time... and make me laugh... or cringe... or really, REALLY, be glad I was not in your shoes.

Today I want you to share with me your most embarrassing or awkward family holiday moment (um did I ever tell you that my mom and I accidentally left a casserole on the roof of the car on our way to Thanksgiving... and that it fell off into the road... and that we scooped it back up... AND SERVED IT?... It turns out that (unbeknownst to us I swear!!!) it was full of broken glass.... Did I mention we SERVED IT?!)

So go ahead and share your stories. I will choose a commenter at random and send them a $10 iTunes card. (You thought I forgot about my Your LIfe Sucks Here's Ten Bucks giveaways?... I didn't I just had to postpone this one a little bit... plus I wanted to change it up a bit)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

We're Off To See The Wizard

We're packed up and hitting the road. We should be pulling into Orlando tomorrow morning for one week of uninterrupted family time. Don't worry dear readers the time is going to fly by... and... I've got several updates and a *real* (not Mrs F sponsored!) giveaway coming up when we get back. (And... psst.... we are bringing the computer so expect random updates when we can bum a free wireless connection)

Until then I think it would be fun to keep the giveaway from the other day going while I'm gone.

Here's the recap:
Now for the giveaway. Today I'm doing it a little differently. Today I'm asking that you go back in time... and make me laugh... or cringe... or really, REALLY, be glad I was not in your shoes.

Today I want you to share with me your most embarrassing or awkward family holiday moment (um did I ever tell you that my mom and I accidentally left a casserole on the roof of the car on our way to Thanksgiving... and that it fell off into the road... and that we scooped it back up... AND SERVED IT?... It turns out that (unbeknownst to us I swear!!!) it was full of broken glass.... Did I mention we SERVED IT?!)

So go ahead and share your stories. I will choose a commenter at random and send them a $10 iTunes card. (You thought I forgot about my Your LIfe Sucks Here's Ten Bucks giveaways?... I didn't I just had to postpone this one a little bit... plus I wanted to change it up a bit)

All embarrassing/awkward/horrific stories commented (on this post and the original) will be entered in and I will randomly choose a winner on Sunday November 29th.
So if anything crazy goes down over the Thanksgiving table this year make sure you enter a comment! Yes each confessional will enter you in AGAIN.

In the meantime I'll try and get something up when I get a chance... but... I'll keep this post at the top to make the giveaway entering scroll down if you're looking for new posts this week.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bitch Fest Friday

It's that time again.

I cannot even get into all the stuff I have to juggle right now. I just made it through my first hurdle: laying the baby down... while keeping two toddlers quiet & out of the room (without the use of moving pictures). I can't believe I did it... but I did. Now I need to make a corn pudding that I need to drop off at Kid's school in two hours and watch her performance & attend her potluck with 3 kids under 3. That's just the first couple of hours of my day...
I officially need less responsibilities and more sleep.

Okay now it is your turn.

(P.S. The giveaway post is still running. I think I might leave it up through Thanksgiving... seeing as some new found embarrassments might arise. Stay tuned I'll keep you apprised of the drawing date.)

Thursday, November 19, 2009


There are days when I could kill Mr F.

There are days when I could rip his flesh off his body with my bare hands.

Today is one of those days.

Deep Breath... and Giveaway

I'm having one of those days that feels like I've already lived a whole day by 9 AM.
This week was a lot to chew and I'm happy to find it's Thursday and I only have two more days until we load up in the car and head south for Disney. I'm really excited, and grateful, and not filled with the usual pre-trip anxiety I would normally feel with 2 days to pack and load. I just don't care... I just know that having 9 days of NO work, NO chores, NO babysitting, NO school is going to be great. I'm so glad we are doing this.

Blogger is being slow and annoying for me this morning... so I'm moving on to the the 100 things I'm trying to juggle.

Now for the giveaway
. Today I'm doing it a little differently. Today I'm asking that you go back in time... and make me laugh... or cringe... or really, REALLY, be glad I was not in your shoes.

Today I want you to share with me your most embarrassing or awkward family holiday moment (um did I ever tell you that my mom and I accidentally left a casserole on the roof of the car on our way to Thanksgiving... and that it fell off into the road... and that we scooped it back up... AND SERVED IT?... It turns out that (unbeknownst to us I swear!!!) it was full of broken glass.... Did I mention we SERVED IT?!)

So go ahead and share your stories. I will choose a commenter at random and send them a $10 iTunes card. (You thought I forgot about my Your LIfe Sucks Here's Ten Bucks giveaways?... I didn't I just had to postpone this one a little bit... plus I wanted to change it up a bit)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Step One Towards Change

Complete my 45 credits necessary to maintain my Michigan LMSW license.

The very thought of this has been a bit daunting. Michigan happens to have some of the LEAST social work friendly licensing laws. I know because I'm also licensed to practice in New York... and have had to investigate licensing in... oh... several states in the last few years. Michigan's kind of on a clinical social worker's shit list. I could go into it but since the majority of you have no idea what I'm talking about I won't.

A couple years ago Michigan decided to tack on a continuing education requirement. Fine. I actually think that's responsible practice. However the requirement is 45 fucking credits. That is a lot folks. A lot.

To put it in perspective in New York I don't have to do ANY. I just have to maintain my license, and if I'm working (which I'm not and they allow me to specify that) attend child abuse training. The end.

In Michigan on top of paying for your license, you have to pay for the credits. You could easily spend a thousand dollars doing so. Oh.... and... the time. Most continuing education offerings are small weekend seminars, and more recently day or evening classes. These are not only not cheap but also require childcare... which... (outside of the fact that I'm not even in Michigan) we can't afford.

When you are working full time (in my experience of working in the clinic of a large agency) your employer will often both pay for the credits and also schedule them as part of your work day. Obtaining these credits while NOT working and staying home with your kids becomes nearly impossible.

The first year Baby was an infant and nursing around the clock and I couldn't attend any seminars. The next year we moved HERE.... so... um... can't attend any courses or seminars.

Well in light of recent events I thought "shit when is my credit deadline?!!!". These days it just seems like a good idea for me to be prepared to support my family at a moments notice. And it seems like a good idea not to get a permanent "failure to comply" mark on my license... you know... it's probably bad enough that I've been out of the workforce for 8 years.

It turns out I need to get my 45 credits before April 30th. That's six months. I already have a full plate these days. Fortunately I seem to have found a distance learning program that will allow me to earn the credits through home study and testing. Better than that it saves me about $700 over the local Ann Arbor community college courses I would have taken. Yes it sounds too good to be true... but it's nationally accredited... and if I'm audited at least I can show I made a good faith attempt to fulfill my credit hours while living out of state. That should count for something!

So yesterday I felt like a freaking rock star. I had the little baby all day. And I still managed to do three loads of laundry... including folding them and PUTTING THEM AWAY. I took the kids to the grocery store (sure the little baby puked all over the cart... but whatever) and PUT AWAY THE GROCERIES. I called Mr F to say "I am really having a productive day". Usually when I'm babysitting I really can't do any household chores... and with my brother coming today and Disney this weekend that was stressing me out. And I also started my coursework for a two credit ethics class. See? I was functioning at 150%.

Then the little baby got picked up and his aunt (a teacher at Kid's school) said "Where's Kid?". As it turns out Kid had a HALF DAY OF SCHOOL.

So while I was busy over achieving on the home front I ended up paying for Kid to attend after care. How much does after care cost? OH... a dollar more an hour than I make babysitting. So instead of making money yesterday... I worked all day... and LOST money!

I would like to point out that I DO NOT think it is a coincidence that the school, that NEVER forgets to send out multiple reminders when we are approaching a fundraising deadline, does not send out reminders when there are half days. Because for every parent that forgets they are automatically paying the school for childcare for the remainder of the school day. See how nicely that works out?

So what was the point? The point is that trying to juggle staying home full time, with babysitting 30 hours a week, with earning these credits is going to be a bit taxing.

The good news is last night I finished the coursework and scored a 100% on my test... and I actually enjoyed it... because I'm a nerd and school is my strong suit (who got a 4.0 in their Master's program?... oh yeah... me). All while helping Kid with her homework, making dinner, and getting a full workout in.

That's 2 credits down... 43 to go.

And that's Step One in our plan.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Change Is On The Horizon (Maybe Not Tomorrow... But It's Within Our Sights)

As I'm sure you can imagine a lot of stuff is going on in the background around here. Some things have been made VERY clear to us and we are now processing that and moving ahead. While moving here has without a doubt been a difficult and often disappointing experience (especially financially) it has given us insight and knowledge that we wouldn't have been able to get if we hadn't come here. We are in a much better position to effect real change in the areas that have the most impact on our lives and happiness.

And we are going to.

Things are not going to be *easy* or *perfect*. In fact in some ways we may trade a certain predictability and stability for... well... unpredictability and instability.

But it will be our choice.

It is one thing to make deep (sometimes painful) sacrifices when it is for something you believe in or want. It is quite another to be slowly bled dry over something you know isn't making you fulfilled or happy. And in many ways is going against our family goals.

So things will change.

Not because they are *meant to be* or because *we deserve* them.

Things are going to change because we're willing to risk it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Touch And Go

My blogging is going to be touch and go this week.

I've got 3 days of babysitting, Kid's school potluck (which I have to attend with all 3 little kids 2.5 and under... good times), my brother is coming into town for a day, AND we leave for Disney World on Saturday.

And, no, I haven't cleaned off my desk.

And I need to clean the house & do laundry.

And pack for our trip.

So... yeah... I'm busy.

Updates of all sorts when I can catch a few minutes (the party was disappointingly not filled with eco warfare... although she did give Kid a set of three felted white rats with red eyes... do we think that was done intentionally?... because you could not come up with a more horrifically terrifying gift to give my kid than that (well... live rats... I suppose). Kid has already begun tormenting me with them.).

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Party Prep

The infamous shared 7th birthday party is today.  I am sure I will have plenty of hilarious updates for you all after that.

For now I'll give you a glimpse at what we've come up with..

Gift bags:
marble (kids like marbles it's just a fact)
small pencil (you know the 80s kind where you can pull the tips out)
eraser (two for one here... leftover from Kid's halloween at school)
7 bead necklace (Kid laid out the patterns and I strung them)

(Yes Kid wrote her name in a different style on EVERY bag... it only took her 2 days to do it)

The grand total for 20 gift bags was $15 and that included the cost of the beads.

The cake:
Kid told me last night that she wanted unicorn cupcakes.  Here is the deal some things like that are actually easier not done in miniature.  I played around and realized I could build a primitive unicorn off of the number 7 which made it's lack of realism intentional (I'm no dummy).
Take a 7 

Add a mane

And a horn

And an ear & a nonpareil for an eye

And you've got a perfectly adequate unicorn.

Kid came in and said "That's not exactly what I had in mind."

You're welcome.

I also made gluten free brownies with chocolate buttercream.

I used the new Betty Crocker gluten free mix which I found in my regular grocery store.  It was really good.  It tasted exactly like the old Gluten Free Pantry mix (which IMO is the best mix around).  These were indistinguishable from regular brownies.  I froze them as soon as they were cool (I have found that gluten free baked goods dry out really fast).  I'm just going to pull the plates out when we leave for the party and they will thaw on the plates in time to serve them.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hide And Seek

Baby was copping a serious 'tude tonight. For whatever reason she wouldn't go to bed and was acting all pissed off. 

Mr F and I ignored her. 

After a half an hour or so we hadn't heard any sound coming out of her (and our episode of The Office was over) so we got up to see what she was up to...

You'll have to use your xray goggles... but it you look really hard you should be able to spot her. I shoved my camera in that tiny crack between the egg chair and it's orange top.  And of course I couldn't turn the lights on or use the flash.  Just imagine you are looking at an ultrasound... 
If you try REALLY hard you should be able to make out her pink monkey PJ top and the white circle of her pacie above that.

She curled up like she was in the womb and fell asleep. Unfortunately she lodged herself in there upside down with her head holding the top shut.

I would have left her in there, but I imagine that when her nightmares start in a couple of hours (yes nightly people) it won't help matters for her to be stuck inside a giant red egg.  

Friday, November 13, 2009


What is wrong with Jackson?
Cause we could buy a house there in cash.
And I kind of want to.

Bitch Fest Friday

Feeling like this?

We understand.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sure My Office Still Looks Like Shit

But behold this seasonal transformation:

We all know how important my mantel display is!

First impressions, people. If this looks good who is going to judge the fact that my floors are covered in a sea of toys, shoes, and strange outdoor debris?

The correct answer is... NO ONE.

It's too bad the lighting in my house always sucks and you can't behold it's true magnificence. Trust me.. it's lush and seasonally appropriate. It says "winter" without saying "HO HO HO".

P.S. Did you notice the cardinals? I am loving the glittery cardinals. I just can't help myself.
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